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1/02/2006

nation building, when money is enough

we are going to spend billions in upgrading and redevelopment, providing more recreational facilities and given old estates a facelift. we could pump in $160 million to add in controversial features in an already over used and over crowded park. the singapore incorporation is on a buying spree around the world, buying everything that is attractive as an investment. compare these to the 1960s when the govt's coffer is practically empty. when everything that we wanted to purchase were either on credit or foreign aid. when public facilities were basic and shared by the whole neighbourhood. people had to watch tv at open air community centres. one tv for a few hundreds when it is now not new for one tv in every room, even in toilets. back to today, govt could push up all costs and prices of essential services, passing the buck of personal medical needs and personal well beings to the people. forcing people to save monies in amounts that they have not seen in their lives. we are in a state of abundance. when money is enough, to the state. never have we so much money that we have problems trying to spend them. and have to agonise for the lack of valuable ideas to make these monies really beneficial to the people. monies are seen to be spent on extravagance, on the frills, and for thrills. on the other hand we have people who are really feeling the pinch. many people are in a state when money is not enough. when life is still quite miserable, making ends meet, saving a few cents here and there to cover expenses in other areas. when tomorrow is another day of adjustments and to stretch every dollar. why is there such a huge gap, where money is more than enough at the national level and not enough at the individual level? public policies and public administration, statecraft, and nation building, all have something to do with the well being of the people and the distribution of wealth and welfare to the people. are we failing in this area? it is unforgiveable if we do, when there is plenty at the state's disposable but not reaching out to the people. it is like the nkf, with $260 million in reserve and kidney patients are still being turned away, dying, or continue to pay high treatment fees with minimum subsidies. and that is called good management and charity. we need to get our priorities right. our national wealth must be put to good uses to benefit the people. hsien loong's new year message covered many grounds, the citizens, the lower income group, the older workers, the aged and the ns men, are all in the radar screen. we are all going to move together, sharing the wealth of the nation. the issue is how are the people going to share the wealth of the nation? how would the less able and not so well endowed be made to live life a little easier? all the monies spent on physical upgradings? are they really that essential and necessary to uplift the lives of the lower income people? could they be put to better use by directly contributing to relieve the cost of livings of these people? could national resources be diverted to areas that really counts, the daily cost of commuting to work, the food cost, education, and medical fees. would there be a rethink, that the state really has a responsibility to look after the people and not to pass the buck back to the people in every area? the people pay taxes, enormous amount of taxes in gst, income tax, property tax and corporate taxes, road tax, import tax etc. everyone contributes according to his ability to the nation's growth. some are exploited and the benefits of their contribution still go to the state in some way. the people deserves to be taken care of by the state when they are unable to do so. and the state shall return some wealth to the people by reducing their cost of living. a little angpow from nss is but a little angpow that last for a few weeks at the most. it is the daily chores and expenses that must be really looked into. we need to rethink on how to manage a nation when money is more than enough. do we create a system that results in many being unable to afford to live in and have to depend on handouts? or shall we create a system that is affordable for the masses who can live their lives in dignity though with some deprivation?

10 comments:

Speedwing said...

Hi Redbean, good morning,

Just as in most countries around the globe, the wealth divide in Singapore is getting much wider. I read in the papers today, the Singapore govt is distributing and sharing good fortune with the people of Singapore. I understand that help will be given for HDB dwellers for utility bills. I think that is good, The Singapore share allocations will be means tested and those more deserving will be given more. That again is good. Helping the aged and the disable is another fantastic venture undertaken by the Singapore govt. Helping the more senior workers with training for more mordern jobs is another plus for the govt.

However, all the above must not be taken for granted resulting in a crutch culture as was quite obvious in neighbouring countries.

I feel that all these good deeds from the govt of Singapore do not actually address the underlining problems. Like they say, it is no use giving fish to the starving, the best thing you can do is to teach them how to catch fish for themselves. Lets hope more is being done to achieve this.

I am still sadden by the fact that there are Singaporeans, even today, who are still scratching the dirt for crumbs.

redbean said...

hi speed,

giving help is bad. very bad. it means public policies are wrongly implemented resulting in people needing help. a simple case like the nkf. it is not that costly to be maintained by the govt. but the govt is not going to care. ended up people begging for help. begging is now big time in singapore. we are the world's best beggars. and we beg without shame.

and all the rich people, including the govt, encourage people to beg. no one really feels what it is like to beg. remove the hypocrisy and you will know that no one really cares or understand the shame, the embarrassment and the pain for our fellow citizens to beg, openly, unashamingly. if the beggings were done by someone close to them, would they still think it is ok?

i am very angry whenever people open their big mouths and said, help is there, just ask. what they are actually saying is that, just beg. and i will give, you disgusting and shameless wretch!

Speedwing said...

In life there will always be the few rich and the many poor. The sorry thing is that the few rich are getting so much richer and there are the few poor who are really struggling at the bottom. The disparity is too wide. NKF saga just highlights this point. When some earns close to $1m a year there are those who finds difficulty in paying school fees.

I feel so sorry when I read about people who have to struggle to clothes, feed and educate their children while there are those I know who would reward their children with $1000 mobile phones just for passing exams.

Well, hopefull, with the govt handouts, life can be a little better for the people at the bottom runk of the social ladder.

redbean said...

somehow i think there is this invisible hand or the law of nature that advocates the strong to take advantage of the weak or to fully exploit their strength to their best advantage. and somehow this leads to their own destruction. otherwise the empires and the strong will never be destroyed and will only get stronger.

survival of the fittest applies up to a point. after that their power and destructiveness will lead to the destruction of the weak whom they fed on or the weak just stand up and beat against the odds.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Not at all.

Reading what you have written - you don't really understand what the invisible hand is ;-) (BTW, it is a metaphor, a way of looking at things, an abstract. It is NOT the thing it represents - just a symbol)

As for natural law - that occurs whether you believe in it or not.

Nation Building is one of the concepts that will bring about the ultimate collapse of Singapore.

That is the logical consequence to people who believe in myths, and take myths so seriously that their entire natures, characters and personalitites change - and so too their thinking and actions.

MATILAH SINGAPURA!

redbean said...

uh, i think i am quite clear about the invisible hand or the law of nature. looking at it from the relgious, philosophical or systems viewpoint, in all angles, everything will be built to be destroyed.

remember yin and yang. the strength will become the weakness and weakness will become strength.

the population of china and india were they greatest weakness and now their greatest strength. their cheap and impoverished labour were horror stories and now because of them they become very competitive.

our strength will destroy us. our weakness will save us. that is the law of nature.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Ha ha. You think that is the "law of nature"?

What makes you think nature has laws? Has it ever occured to you that "the laws of nature" are just a human attempt to explain the unexplainable.

Anyway, back to your philosophy. You have been careless in leaving out something:

After destruction come rebirth or renewal.

You just stop the cycle at "destruction", perhaps because you have a prediliction for the dramatic :-)

The whole darn thing is a process.

redbean said...

calling it a law, the way, mother nature's way, invisible hand, is just for convenience. no one term will fully able to describe this unwritten law or force.

yes, it is a process. i always have full of admiration at the taoist symbol of yin and yang. it really symbolises the whole universe and everything in the universe. the complimenting forces of light and darkness, the continuous expansion and contraction, life and death, all in perfect motion, in perfect balance.

who the hell could visualise the whole universe and conceptualise it into a simple symbol?

Matilah_Singapura said...

No one. It is just a symbol - a simple generalisation of what is real - which can't be explained but only known by direct experience which transcends another illusion: time.

redbean said...

huh, how can it be no one when it is a human construct?

for the ancient men to reduce something so complicated to something so simple is simply amazing. no one has claimed to create it, no copy rights. but look at it again, dark matter and white matter in complete balance, in unity, expansion leads to contraction and expansion again in perpetual continuity. god and the devil in full embrace.

and the pattern itself is like looking at a galaxy of stars.